The following report details a shore excursion taken on Sunday, May 8, 2011.
When Silver Spirit docked in Monte Carlo, a dozen or so of us joined a special shore excursion to St. Paul de Vence. No one seemed to mind the 75-minute drive in the comfortable minibus, as we crossed the Middle Corniche, passing the beautiful hilltop village of Eze, then continuing past Villefranche to Nice and along the Promenade des Anglais.
Once past Nice, the minibus turned inland, taking us up a slight incline to the beautiful medieval village of St. Paul de Vence. Our first stop was at a modern art museum, the Maeght Foundation, a modern art museum. We walked from there, along a paved path for about 15 minutes, to get to — and through — the village walls of St. Paul de Vence.
After a short a tour of the village, we stepped inside the Relais & Châteaux property Hotel Le Saint Paul (the only hotel inside the village walls), where we had lunch in the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. It was a beautiful day, and our small group was fortunate to be able to dine outside for this exclusive lunch.
Some in our group browsed the menu and noted that the cost of the tour, $329 per person, was quite a value considering that we would have paid what they calculated to be about $150 each for the four-course lunch, with wines.
Before returning to Monte Carlo, we stopped in Grasse, the birthplace of the French perfume industry, where we were given a tour of the Fragonard Perfume Factory and samples before boarding the minibus for the trip back to Silver Spirit.
Once back on board Silver Spirit, we watched Monte Carlo recede in the ship’s wake as we made way for the next destination, Barcelona.